Agriculture is the production of plants and animals for the welfare of human being, by utilizing the resources of nature. It’s major function is to provide materials for food, cloth and shelter to man and feed to animal. The term agriculture has been derived from the Latin words- ‘agar’ means land or field and ‘kultura’ means cultivation. The Greek ‘geoponic’ (cultivation in earth), ‘hydroponic’ (cultivation in water) and `aeroponic’ (cultivation in air) refer to the three main spheres of agriculture.
Agriculture is the most important enterprise in the world. In a true sense it is a productive unit where the resources of nature namely, soil, sunshine, air, temperature, rain water, humidity etc. are integrated into a single primary unit (crop plants or their usable parts) indispensable for human beings. Secondary productive units namely, animals such as livestock, birds, and insects (including fisheries) feed on these primary units and provide concentrated products such as meat, milk, wool, hide, eggs, honey, silk and lac.
Importance of agriculture
Agriculture provides us food, feed, fibre, fuel, furniture, fertilizer, raw materials and feed-back materials for and from factories, funds, flood control, a free, fair and fresh environment, abundant food driving out famine and friendship eliminating fights. It also considers employment generation, economics, education, ecology, energy consumption, use of equipment and earning for production, protection, processing, consumption, preservation and war against waste, transport and trade.
Even though agricultural commodities are mostly seasonal, bulky and perishable in nature, they help the nation to earn and conserve a greater amount of foreign exchange and to build up the national economy.
Satisfactory agricultural production brings peace, prosperity, harmony, health and Wealth to individuals of a nation by driving away distrust, discord and anarchy. It helps to elevate the community consisting of different castes and com-munities to a better social, cultural, political and economic life. Agriculture consists of growing plants and rearing animals in order to produce and thus it helps to maintain biological equilibrium in nature. It congregates the interaction of all environmental factors namely, water, heat, light, air and soil distributed in the different spheres such as the lithosphere, pedosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere and photosphere.
Agriculture helps to meet the basic needs of humans and their civilization by providing food, clothing, shelter, medicine and recreation. Their eyes and minds are soothed by dynamic changes from grey (bare soil) to green (growing crop) to golden (mature crop) and gay harvests.
Role of agriculture in the economy of Bangladesh
The economy of Bangladesh is primarily dependent on agriculture. About 84 percent of the total population live in rural areas and are directly or indirectly engaged in a wide range of agricultural activities. The agriculture sector plays a very important role in the economy of the country accounting for 31.6 percent of total GDP in 1997-98 at constant (1984-85) prices. The agriculture sector comprises crops, forests, fisheries and livestock. Of the agricultural GDP, the crop sub-sector contributes 71 per cent, forest 10 per cent, fisheries 10 percent and livestock 9 per cent. The sector generates 63.2% percent of total national employment, of which crop sectors share is nearly 55 %. Agricultural exports of primary products constituted 10.4% of total exports of the country in 1997-98. In the past decade, the agriculture sector contributed about three percent per annum to the annual economic growth rate.
The agriculture sector is the single largest contributor to income and employment generation and a vital element in the country’s challenge to achieve self-sufficiency in food production, reduce rural poverty and foster sustainable economic development. The Government has therefore accorded highest priority to this sector to enable the country to meet these challenges and to make this sector commercially profitable.